We were due to welcome HANNAH JAMES & TOBY KUHN back in 2020, but youknowwhat got in the way. At last, though, the stars have finally aligned on the reschedule and the duo will headline our monthly concert on Friday 15 March.

Hannah & Toby met in Summer 2018 at Floating Castle festival in Slovenia and it was clear that these two musicians shared a common approach to music making and a real artistic chemistry. Award-winning folk musician, dancer and composer Hannah James is complemented perfectly by the virtuoso cello of Toby Kuhn.

Known for her work with Lady Maisery, Maddy Prior, Sam Sweeney, Seasick Steve and Songs of Separation, Hannah is one of the key figures in the modern UK folk scene. Rooted in the English Tradition but enriched by her collaborations all over Europe, her charismatic blend of accordion, vocal and clog dancing forged an instant artistic chemistry with impressive French cellist Toby Kuhn. Toby is a post-classical musician with a taste for improvisation and folk music of all persuasions. Always on the lookout for new ways to play his instrument, his unorthodox approach has won admiration and acclaim from Japan to Canada, bringing the full potential of the cello with him on his journey across style and invention.

Together, their music is soulful, original and conversational. The combination of accordion and cello allows for a huge palette of sounds and textures which lift James’s pure voice and deeply honest songwriting. In the next breath they switch to choppy rhythms and joyful interplay between cello and percussive dance. This duo deliver a diverse, playful and hugely original performance. Their debut album Sleeping Spirals has garnered considerable acclaim.

Opening the evening will be SEB STONE, a traditional singer, whistle player and uilleann piper from the Peak District. In 2022 he won both the Future of Folk and Shantyman of the Year Awards at Bromyard Folk Festival. Since then he has performed at a multitude of folk festivals in 2023, as well as at folk clubs across the country, appearing alongside Martin Carthy, Brian Peters and The Wilson Family. He is an active part of the sessions cicuit in Sheffield, as well as playing and singing at occasional sessions in Manchester and his native Peaks.

Tickets for the concert, which takes place at CHRIST CHURCH DOWNEND on Friday 15 March 2024, are available online HERE and from MELANIE'S KITCHEN in Downend (cash only). They are priced at £14 each in advance or £16 on the door. Doors open at 7.00pm and the music starts around 7.45pm.

There will be a bar, stocking cider, soft drinks, wine, hot drinks and real ale from locally-based HOP UNION BREWERY. Audience members are encouraged to bring their own glass/mug/tankard, as well as reusable bottles for water, as part of the drive to be more environmentally aware; there is a 50p discount for those that do. There will also be sweet treats available at the bar courtesy of Radstock-based THE GREAT CAKE COMPANY, as well as a prize draw, which helps to fund the support artists for each concert. 

The concert will also be live-streamed thanks to our ongoing partnership with LIVE TO YOUR LIVING ROOM, so if you can't make it to the venue you don't need to miss out... you can watch from the comfort of your own sofa! For further information, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or find us on FACEBOOKX or INSTAGRAM.



About two songs into THE CARRIVICK SISTERS' set, on the first of Downend Folk & Roots Saturday lunchtime shows, a tiny pair of feet storms forward, dashing headlong towards the stage. They are caught. Scooped up. Returned to safety. For about 30 seconds. 
Ant Miles, head honcho at Downend, is determined to broaden the scope of folk audiences so he’s thrown the doors of this wonderful place open to families for a relaxed, completely non-judgemental gig. As a consequence, Christ Church is thrumming with little voices, it's awash with blackcurrant squash and filled with tiny dancers. It is an utterly heartwarming afternoon, ridiculously brilliant. While there are Downend regulars here, there are so many new faces too.
The soundtrack to all of this loveliness are Devon's Bluegrass Queens, The Carrivick Sisters. Laura (on fiddle, dobro and guitar) has brought her own children - in fact the near stage invasion was perpetrated by her eldest - whereas Charlotte (banjo, mandolin and guitar) has left hers at home. Between them they provide lullabies, tales of knights and castles, musings on maps, toe tappers and music that's just right for a tiny bit of infant joggling.
If there's any truth in the idea that twins share some kind of telepathic link then Laura and Charlotte set out to prove that it is, indeed, the case. It's the only explanation for the gorgeous harmonies that they produce. Don't the Road Look Rough and Rocky is a lullaby, led by Laura's pure, high voice but it’s when Charlotte joins her that magic happens. Two voices, overlapping and overlaying, creating multiple textures, multiple colours. They conjure MGM Western technicolour right there in front of you. 
In true bluegrass style the Carrivicks gather around one central microphone, each taking a lead or delivering an exquisite musical break. Charlotte’s mandolin on Lazy John nips along, rousing the dozing babies enfolded in parent's arms, while Laura's hazy lap steel on Already Gone lulls them once more. On Gillian Welch's Dear Someone the sisters use a guitar each as swoony, sleepy magic wands, effortlessly casting a calming spell.
I Love You Honey has a cheeky swish of Western swing, it's a tasselled rhinestone skirt of a thing, a pink cowboy boot. Patsy Cline would be proud. The instrumental, Digging up the Rose Bush, is a Wile-E Coyote cartoon dash, a swirling dust cloud and meep-meep acceleration. Both see the little ones stirring, see feet stamping and arms whirling.
A brand-new song, probably called Primrose and Narcissus, is sunshine bright. Written for Laura's children it's a new song that sounds old, as timeless as mountains, as familiar as parenthood. Those harmonies, once again, bringing huge smiles. Equally golden is Today Is a Good Day, two guitars chiming away, picking up pace, bursting with sunbeams. These are wonderfully old-timey tunes, perfect for any age group.
Having set feet stomping and brand-new eyes flickering, The Carrivick Sisters end with a kiddie-folk classic. Sleeping Bunnies seems to leave the littlest ones entirely bewildered but their parents love it.
After just an hour, the music comes to an end. The Carrivick Sisters have beguiled everyone, have woven their harmonised magic. There’s still colouring to complete, squash to drink and racing about to do though. A tiny pair of feet storms forwards… there’s still fun to be had. The first Saturday lunchtime at Downend is as joyous as anything that you could imagine.
Words: Gavin McNamara
Photos: Barry Savell


We are thrilled to welcome THE CARRIVICK SISTERS for our first Live at Lunchtime concert on Saturday 2 March.

These events are family-friendly and under-18s go free (accompanied by a paying adult). There will be a very relaxed atmosphere, and if children make some noise, that's fine! There will be activity and colouring sheets for younger children and a break-out room at the back for anyone that needs it, where there will be toys and a bit of space, with the audio of the gig piped into the room.

The Carrivick Sisters are one of the UK's top young bluegrass and folk acts. Twins Laura and Charlotte perform their original songs and instrumentals along with a few carefully chosen covers on guitar, mandolin, fiddle, dobro, and clawhammer banjo. Their busy touring schedule is rapidly building them a reputation for engaging and entertaining live performances with tight sibling vocal harmonies and multi-instrumental virtuosity. Having grown up in South Devon, an area rich in folk lore and legends, much of their original material is inspired by their local surroundings and history.

The concert itself is not specifically aimed at children, although is very family-friendly. These events are aimed at people who perhaps cannot make our usual Friday evening events, as well as our regular audience. And remember, if you already have a season ticket for Spring/Summer 2024, you get this one for free!

The concert will be shorter than normal (just over  an hour with a short break halfway though) and there is no support. Doors open at midday and the music starts at 12.30pm. It will finish at around 1.45pm.

The event takes place at our usual CHRIST CHURCH DOWNEND venue, tickets are £10 per adult (plus booking fees) and are available HERE, or, as usual, from MELANIE'S KITCHEN in Downend (cash only). There will be tea, coffee and a small selection of soft drinks and THE GREAT CAKE COMPANY cakes available to purchase, and free squash for children, available from our bar. Please note that we will not be serving alcoholic drinks at these events. For further information, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or find us on FACEBOOKX or INSTAGRAM.